Monmouth County Paternity Lawyer
Establishing paternity is the process of determining the identity of a child’s biological father. By establishing your paternity, you can assert your parental rights and responsibilities, particularly with child custody and support agreements.
Issues regarding paternity are common, but that does not mean the process of establishing parentage is always easy. A family law attorney at Moskowitz Law Group understands the various procedures that are available to establish a child’s biological father. Call a Monmouth County paternity lawyer if you have questions about these processes and your rights throughout them.
Ways to Establish Paternity
State law automatically considers children born to a married couple as their maternal and paternal offspring. However, when children are born to an unmarried couple or single mother, fathers may need to establish their paternity to receive legal parental rights. While a mother can establish paternity with the child’s birth certificate if the father has signed it, this process varies for fathers who have not signed the birth certificate.
Someone who wishes to establish biological fathership can commence a paternity action in family court under the New Jersey Parentage Act. This law allows the mother or father to file and request DNA testing. There are three primary mechanisms that the family court uses to establish paternity.
Paternity for Married Couples
If a married couple has a child over the course of the marriage, the law presumes the husband is the father. The statute further covers children born up to ten months after finalizing a divorce. However, both parents can formally challenge paternity if a situation calls for it.
Certificate of Parentage
Unmarried parents can voluntarily sign a Certificate of Parentage after a child is born. By signing this legal document, both parents agree on who the child’s father is. A Certificate of Parentage is legally binding unless legal action is taken later to challenge paternity with the appropriate grounds.
When there are questions regarding children’s paternity, both parents have the right to file a paternity action in family court. The court will require DNA testing to confirm the identity of the child’s biological father.
Cases Involving Adult Children
The New Jersey Paternity Act asserts that parents must apply to the court to establish paternity no more than five years after a child reaches the legal age of majority at 18. However, if an adult learns new facts that create disputes over a biological father’s identity, they may have legal options. At any point in a parent’s life, a Monmouth County attorney can review their options for establishing paternity.
Paternal Rights and Responsibilities
If someone establishes paternity of a child, they gain parental rights as well as responsibilities. Paternal fathers have a right to know their children and develop a relationship with them. As such, paternity is a primary focus of disputes over child custody, providing a stronger basis for fathers to claim they have a right to spend time with their children.
Establishing paternity also means a parent becomes legally responsible for the financial costs associated with raising a child. Mothers may seek to establish paternity to request child support payments. While fathers are responsible for supporting their children, ensuring these payments are fair and reasonable is also important. A Monmouth County attorney can help a father establish their paternity as well as their rights in disputes over child custody and support.
Schedule a Consultation with a Monmouth County Paternity Attorney
Paternity is not just a matter of knowing who a father is—there are legal processes and rights involved with establishing this parental relationship. While it can be confusing to determine the right path, a hard-working and skilled Monmouth County paternity lawyer understands your challenges and can help protect your rights.
Establishing paternity may be necessary for many reasons, including disputes over child support or ensuring fathers have access to their children. Regardless of the reason for pursuing a paternity action, a skilled legal professional at Moskowitz Law Group can answer your questions and help you reach the best conclusion in your case. Call today.